Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A whiter shade of pale: or Jackson, Fawcett and McMahon.

OK, we’re all sick to death of the cult of celebrity death, am I right?
The Great Distractions, keeping the real news of our sad and sorry world at bay. American Idols in American Death.

Our heads turn to peer closely at glass coffins, white horses, a grieving drug addled young son (in the case of FF), a drug-addled dead one and an old man who made an art out of shilling anything for a buck including several million dollars as a paid side kick, paid to laugh, paid for just the right amount of obsequiousness.

Call me an old cynic: But are we all barking mad? Are we all so desperately in need of heroes and heroines that we would all bow so needily at the altar of these three lives?

As to Jackson: where to begin?

A troubled child star, abused mightily by his father as some have it, who in turn carried on the abuse to the degree of catastrophic self-mutilation, multiple surgeries, skin bleaching and anorexia, and that’s all we know of, until more will be revealed, I have no doubt. He made music, he sang, he danced and well, he made heaps and heaps of money. He spent it all. On himself. Foolishly.

Philanthropy, unlike some others in his profession who share their wealth and engage in charitable efforts, did not enter his lexicon. He exited this world leaving more debts than assets. Much like America herself. Of course there is still the dancing on his corpse to be performed in the way of ‘memorial concerts’, new records, DVDs, until every last penny is bled from his cadaver, such being the way of the Jackson family.

I’m not touching on his alleged paedophilia. Though I do note that millions and millions were paid out to the families of child-complainants. I wonder at the powerful lure of carousels and fairgrounds and miniature train journeys for these little boys, and they were all boys. He did not have sleepovers with little girls, much as he professed his love for ‘children’.

And speaking of: I wonder about his children, bought and paid for, no doubt. I wonder at the narcissism of a man who endows all three of his children with his name. I wonder at the cruelty of a father who bleaches the hair of one of his children white. I wonder at the effects of veiling on those children (against their wills) while in public. I wonder at the sanity of a man who dangles a helpless baby over a balcony.

I ask myself how can a man possibly be a good father who wasn’t fathered himself but exploited, abused and deprived of an education. I am appalled at his obvious misogyny in deliberately excluding a mother from these children’s lives.

I wonder at a man who hates himself and his race and his gender so much that he spends decades of his life and earnings on transforming himself from a black man to a white woman. A man who spent nearly a billion dollars in his life time, and all on himself in outlandish shopping trips, thoughtlessly, without a care to the needs of others less fortunate.

And his drug habits only come to life (like his one time father-in-law, Elvis) on his death bed. Another ignonimous death, another hidden drug-addled life, lived selfishly and narcissistically.

As to Fawcett – she too shared the self-mutilation of Jackson, her face and body were a death mask of cosmetic interventiona long before she died, terrified, like Jackson, of aging. Only remembered for her jiggles on Charlie’s angels and that multi-million seller poster of huge hair, visible nipples and perfect teeth.

As to poor Ed, was there a personality? Did he bring smarm into a brand new definition of a well paid profession? And last I heard he had spent his way into bankruptcy begging with friends for loans in the last year before his death. Much like America too.

Are we all complicit in this adulation of failures? For failures they truly are. Yes, they danced and sang and acted, and actors they all were. Perhaps Ed the best of all of them. Are there lessons? Are these three just facets in a mirror of ourselves? Of our profiligate selfish ways, bending before the altar of avaricious greed, terrified of aging, afraid of living and selfish to the point of extinction?

Are we all now grieving our lost, higher selves?


  1. I'm not grieving, WWW - not at all.
    I didn't know Ed from Adam. I knew FF only from Charlie's Angels, and did admire her looks back in the day, didn't blame her for trying to hang on to them, probably for career pruposes, the movie and TV industry in the US being so mean when it comes to casting older women.

    MJ - Hardly knew his music, chose not to read much about his doings with kids or anything else about him. His death was a surprise, I guess that's the most I can say. It gave us material for at least one blog post. I feel sorry for his fans though - the ones who grew up listening to him.

    Thanks FF, EM and MJ, for the material. RIP y'all.

  2. actually, i think michael jackson did give a lot of money to AIDS education and prevention in africa....

  3. geez you sound kind of bitter... i think we should leave these people alone.

  4. Celebs are seldom what they appear to be. I'm just baffled at the number of intelligent people who worship them as if they're perfect. Even when their death reveals the squalid reality of their private lives.

  5. I think Nick is right - we haven't a clue who these people were - just what the media protrayed them as. Still I must admit you have an awful lot of important points about Jackson.

  6. Good post WWW. I've always been disgusted by the idolizing of so called celebrities whether entertainers, politicians or preachers.In the end they all turn out to be misfits, liars, hypocrites or downright evil people.

  7. I'm nor mourning anybody, Mary, but I do feel a certain amount of pity for all of these people who really lost in the end and we didn't, we stayed "normal and sane," as far as that is possible in this crazy world we live in. I refuse to worship anybody, no ordinary human being who has made it big is worthy of my devotion, especially not when they then proceed to make very odd decisions about themselves and their lives. I don't like people who get lost and stay lost and get themselves lost even more by their delusions. That's not someone I want to have as a role model for myself or my child.

  8. Too true, too true, wise woman, and Michael Jackson's death will drag on and on. Now we have the various autopsies and the will. Not to mention the funeral. I don't watch TV, but Jerry does sometimes. He says it's all Michael Jackson, punctuated sometimes with new information about Mark Sanford's sex life.

  9. @T:
    No neither am I. My point was the adulation of the masses and how inflated and important these poor unfortunates become in death. Media hype. We do have many real heroes in the world.
    I would be interested to hear the percentage of his donations vs his earnings.
    Not at all. I will if the media will.
    It's an interesting phenom alright are we that devoid of real heroes? I guess we are.
    The adulation of MJ I find extraordinary.
    Our values are highly questionable. Helped in no part by media pumping pushed by Big Corp.
    No, as mentioned above, neither am I. I, like you have trouble with these people held out as examples for children as models to be emulated by the endless pumping of the media.
    And the real issues of the world being neglected, as usual. I sometimes think we're all inhabiting a kind of nightmare, a parellel universe!


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